Subject: SW BIODIVERSITY ALERT
******* SOUTHWEST BIODIVERSITY ALERT #118 ***********
* 2/19/98 *
* SOUTHWEST CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY *
1. STRANGE COALITION TO FIGHT GERMAN AIRFORCE RAIDS ON U.S. WILDERNESS-
RANCHERS, ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL JOIN FIGHT
2. FORMER DEPUTY FOREST SUPERVISOR BLASTS SOUTHWEST GRAZING SUBSIDIES-
"PATIENT IS COMATOSE, TIME TO PULL THE PLUG"
3. KEMPTHORNE EXTINCTION BILL MOVING TOWARD VOTE IN THE SENATE
BABBITT RE-INSTATES DISASTEROUS "NO SURPRISES" POLICY
4. GILA NATIONAL FOREST PLANS BIGGEST LOGGING PROJECT IN SW HISTORY-
CALLS, LETTERS, FAXES NEEDED TODAY!
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STRANGE COALITION TO FIGHT GERMAN AIRFORCE RAIDS ON U.S. WILDERNESS
On 2/6/98 the Southwest Center informed the U.S. and German airforces that
a proposal to allow the Germans to fly jets 100 feet above the Gila
Wilderness is an unacceptable threat to wildlife, Native American historical
sites, and human health. The letter was signed by over 100 groups and
individuals including the Southwest Forest Alliance, Maricopa Aububon
Society, GREEN, and the Sierra Club. The German's want to train here because
such low level flights are illegal in Germany.
The plan is also opposed by ranchers, sports people, and the conservative
Albuquerque Journal which reminded its readers of the 20 people killed in
Italy by a low level U.S. jet pilot
FORMER DEPUTY FOREST SUPERVISOR BLASTS SOUTHWEST GRAZING SUBSIDIES
Douglas Barber, former Deputy Forest Supervisor of the Apache-Sitgreaves
National Forest, has written a letter to Senator Pete Domenici (R, NM),
calling for an end to the grazing allotment permit system and subsidized
public lands ranching. His 3/11/96 letter states:
"I have been convinced for a number of years that the existing term
grazing permit system is broken beyond repair...What we have is a comatose
patient on life support, and it's time turn the machine off.
There is no question that grazing has damaged Southwestern streams and
riparian habitat. The Forest Service recognizes that, but it can't seem to
realize that managing it better costs too much and leads to marginal
solutions. For legal, political and agency reasons, it seems incapable of
doing the right thing, which is often to eliminate it.
Barber cited a $100,000 fencing project, paid for by Arizona Game and Fish,
to "help" the threatened Apache trout:
"Did we build the fences to protect the streams, or to protect the cows?
After all, if the cows weren't there, the fences wouldn't have been needed
...the taxpayers are taking a tremendous beating. For their trouble, they
get an additional 20 miles of fence which hampers their access to the
Fencing streams so cows can remain on the National Forest is simply not a
good investment. And the situation is getting worse...the agency has the
mindset that if a piece of land can be grazed, it must be grazed. It's as
if the cows have an inalienable right to be there. So, the taxpayers
continue to spend far more than we take in...and then spend a small fortune
to mitigate the damage...The term 'welfare ranchers' is really untrue, but
not for the reasons ranchers would like us to believe. Welfare would be far
My experience tells me preserving public land grazing is not in the public
KEMPTHORNE EXTINCTION BILL MOVING TOWARD VOTE IN THE SENATE-
BABBITT RE-INITIATED DISASTEROUS "NO SURPRISES" POLICY
The Kempthorne ESA reauthorization bill has moved out of committee and could
go before the full Senate for a vote soon. The bill weakens recovery planning
for endangered species, will likely end the designation of critical habitat,
and allows corrupt agencies like the Forest Service to consult with
instead of having the oversight of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The
bill is supported by developers, loggers, and the Clinton Administration. It
is opposed by essentially every environmental group in the country.
Clinton supports the bill because it includes his disasterous "no surprises"
policy which mandates that "habitat conservation plans" can not be altered,
even if they are found to be driving species to extinction, except with the
permission of the developers, loggers, or miners who created the plan. Even
then, the burden of change falls on the taxpayers, not the land destroyers.
The policy was temporarily put on hold and made subject to public review due
to a lawsuit by the Spirit of the Sage Council, the Southwest Center,
Biodiversity Legal Foundation, and others. Even though the vast, vast
of commentors opposed the plan, Babbitt re-instated it without any changes
whatsoever. The re-instatement was timed to support the Kempthorne bill as
it moves toward a vote.
GILA NATIONAL FOREST PLANS BIGGEST LOGGING PROJECT IN SW HISTORY-
CALLS, LETTERS, FAXES NEEDED TODAY!
The Gila National Forest has released a plan to log 90 million board feet of
timber on 65,000 acres over the next eight years. This is by far the largest
timber project ever proposed on a Southwest National Forest where timber sales
typically range from 1-5 million board feet. The so called "Negrito Ecosystem
Project" initially involved environmentalists concerned with landscape level
planning. They abandoned the project years ago, and now the Forest Service is
using their involvement (though it can't remember the group's name)to justify
a massive logging increase.
The Southwest Center has vowed to occupy the site and wage a campaign
to the 1996 Eagle Peak Roadless Area battle. The Gila National Forest became a
national disgrace in its failed effort to road and log Eagle Peak, which is
sacred to the Zuni Pueblo. The campaign exposed Forest Service employee arson,
illegally alterations to the Mexican Spotted Owl Recovery Plan, and
an USDa Inspector General's investigation of the Gila National Forest. Eagle
Peak was never logged, it is within the Negrito Ecosystem Project.
Write, call and fax the Gila National Forest today! Tell them logging on the
this scale is unheard of in the Southwest. The project should be permanently
Able Camerina, Gila National Forest Supervisor
Phone 505.388.8201 Fax 505.388.8204
3005 E. Camino del Bosque
Silver City, NM 88061
Kieran Suckling firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Director 520.623.5252 phone
Southwest Center for Biological Diversity 520.623.9797 fax
http://www.sw-center.org pob 710, tucson, az 85702-710